Between budget cuts and complex contract language, managing IT spend and relationships with software vendors can prove to be quite challenging, especially if you’re not in a position with leverage. With new technology constantly being introduced to the market, best-in-class procurement teams understand the importance of being in a position with leverage – allowing the business to be in control of the vendors’ influence and the ability to evaluate alternatives.
Not many people can say they haven't heard the voice of a young child asking “Why?” No matter what the subject matter we all seem to be programmed to want to know the “why” behind the “what.” The procurement workplace is no different but we tend to find difficulty in connecting these. Understanding the ins and outs of theory and practice become essential to success in the procurement world.
Two years ago, the World Economic Forum (WEF) published its Future of Jobs report – exploring employment, skills and workforces in the Fourth Industrial Revolution. This sparked debate – and growing concern – around a changing global employment landscape as the result of disruptive technologies, studded with widening skill gaps, new jobs and job displacement.
Outsourcing decisions often come down to a relatively simple cost-driven Return on Investment (ROI) calculation: how much will the cost change in each scenario and how quickly can that investment be recovered?
On the surface, this purely economic approach seems appropriate enough. After all, economics are certainly important. But over-reliance on purely financial-driven outsourcing decisions is one of the biggest causes of the “strategy-to-execution gap,” namely the distance between a company’s business strategies and its ability to execute on them.
It’s easy to hear a buzz word in the industry and make assumptions. However, what happens when those assumptions prove incorrect? And what happens when those assumptions are the bedrock under which a sourcing contract is being shaped, priced and a customer/service provider relationship is developed?
Much is being made about the need to attract and retain millennial talent in today’s economy. Companies that are focused on long-term sustainability are intently focused on those entering the workforce now, as they need to fill the void that will undoubtedly be left by the mass exodus that will take place in the coming years with the Baby Boomers retiring. But are companies becoming a little too obsessed with the Generation Y (millennial) workers and neglecting those who are set to lead their organizations in the nearer term?
Welcome to this new column. Every couple of months I’ll be getting on the proverbial soapbox and sharing my observations and opinions on all things ‘talent’ and how ‘work’ works. Please feel free to agree, disagree and add to the subjects via the comments sections below.
This month’s Academic of Outsourcing tribute goes to Douglass C. North for his work on “new institutional economics.” North – a professor, economist, philosopher and economic historian – was the co-recipient (with Robert Fogel) of the 1993 Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences “for having renewed research in economic history by applying economic theory and quantitative methods in order to explain economic and institutional change.”
We’ve come a long way since the 1955 issue of Fortune which described the ‘successful American executive’ as someone who spent almost no time on politics, drank moderately, and only attended cultural events ‘because they must’. With a businessman in the White House and heads of Fortune 500 companies regularly appearing in the media as trendsetters, opinion formers and pundits, discretion is no longer the better part of valour.
When a business is choosing which company to outsource with, location can often be overlooked in favour of the most appropriate specialist for the project. However, location – and especially proximity - should be a critical part of the decision process. For example, if your company is based in Europe, it will be more difficult to outsource from a provider based in Asia, due to a mixture of time, travel, language, and perhaps cultural differences.